Apple’s latest beta for iOS 17.3 appears to be suffering from considerable bugs, resulting in Apple pulling the beta after only a few hours of availability.
The problem is that the iOS 17.3 beta 2 can place phones into a boot loop, leaving them unresponsive to user input. As a result, Apple took the beta down the same afternoon it was launched, leaving only a three-hour window when the beta was available.
According to a log shared by developer Guilherme Rambo on Mastodon, the issue appears to be linked to the back tap setting. Back tap on iPhone allows you to assign certain functions to a double or triple tap of the phone's back, and is primarily intended as an accessibility feature.
Rambo notes that, while other accessibility subsystems seem to be affected by the same bug, it is the back tap setting crash that causes the boot loop, at least on his device. However, there have been some reports that users who did not have the back tap setting enabled were also encountering the fault, so it is unclear exactly how this setting plays into the crashes.
According to a recent X post by iSoftware Updates, the main phones affected by the boot loop issue are the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, iPhone 14 and iPhone 15. Thankfully, it appears that users are still able to restore backups that were made with an older iOS version, but users without the relevant backup will have a harder time restoring their phone and their data.
Looks like iOS 17.3 Beta 2 puts some iPhone models (in the 12, 13, 14, and 15 series, based on reports) in a boot loop. So maybe refrain from installing for now pic.twitter.com/MBTyZHQ1TjJanuary 3, 2024
iOS 17.3 is set to introduce several new features for iPhone users. The biggest is Stolen Device Protection; a set of new security features for protecting phones' more sensitive data from criminals who have managed to discover the user's passcode. The new system requires Face ID or Touch ID authentication to do things like view passwords, turn off lost mode, or erase all content. This would be a major security update for iPhone users, albeit one you have to manually enable in the Settings menu.
We should also see the Apple Music collaborative playlist feature return in iOS 17.3. Collaborative playlists allow users to build a list of songs together, share them and react to other users' additions with ease. The feature was originally meant to be part of iOS 17.2, but was pulled due to concerns about abuse.
It is not unusual for beta’s to have certain teething issues; part of the process is having the majority of issues come forth now so that the developers can solve them before the full release. However, this is quite a large problem for Apple, and it will have to be sorted out quickly to keep testing on schedule. Apple is usually good at solving big issues like this quickly, but we will have to wait and see if and when this particular beta is reintroduced.
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Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.